Sam Bennett stunned the sprint heavies Tuesday, winning his first career WorldTour race in stage 3 of Paris-Nice.

Sam Bennett stunned the sprint heavies Tuesday, winning his first career WorldTour race in stage 3 of Paris-Nice in Chalon-sur-Saône, France. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was second behind Bora-Hansgrohe’s Irishman. Trek-Segafredo’s John Degenkolb sprinted to third place. FDJ sprinter Arnaud Démare kept his overall lead, which he claimed in Sunday’s first stage.

“I chased that first WorldTour win quite a while and I feel big relief now. The boys did an awesome job,” said Bennett. “I knew with a bit of luck today and the support of the team something was possible. In the end I got really lucky. I was just trying to fight for position to get in front. I was finding it really difficult to stay in position.”

Stage 3, top 10

Top-10 overall

Up until the final few kilometers of the 190km stage, the breakaway riders stole the show, building a lead of up to eight minutes at one point. Frenchmen Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) and Pierre Latour (Ag2r La Mondiale) persisted out of an early escape that also included American Ben King (Dimension Data). Latour attacked over the final categorized climb, Côte de Charrecey, shedding King, but Combaud followed.

With sprint teams Katusha and Sunweb driving the peloton, they caught the French duo just in time to set up the bunch sprint.

Quick-Step Floors took charge of the lead-out on behalf of German sprinter Marcel Kittel. FDJ pushed up the left side of the road but was swamped as the sprint began.

Kittel launched his acceleration a touch too early, and André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) tried to follow, but he too faded in the final 100 meters. Meanwhile, from the remnants of FDJ’s lead-out, Kristoff emerged and looked to have a shot at the win. But Bennett was right on the Norwegian’s wheel, and came around on the right, accelerating to a convincing win.

“First Michael [Kolar] and Juraj [Sagan] brought me up and then with 500m to go Patrick came also from behind with lots of speed,” Bennett added. “I was able to jump on his wheel and with that momentum I was perfectly placed with 300m to go. I launched my sprint at 200m and I always felt I could win. It is just a great feeling now to have that win under my belt.”

After three days of crosswinds and sprints, Paris-Nice turns to the GC riders in stage 4 with a 14.5km time trial from Beaujeu to Mont Brouilly that features an uphill finish.

Stage 3 results

General classification